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Geoff Boycott: England needs to fix the Test team before return Ashes series in 2015

There is a real danger England will sweep this 5-0 defeat under the carpet, pretend it never happened and it was nobody's fault.

They will carry on with the same captain, coach, players and planning. Well, that is not good enough.

The players have been mentally dissected and broken. There was no fight or spirit left and they were totally humiliated by an Australian team that is good, but not great.

The last whitewash was achieved by a team containing Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist - three once-in-a-lifetime players - and there was no shame in losing 5-0 to them. But we should be ashamed and embarrassed to lose so abjectly to this lot.

Only one bowler has been out of the ordinary - Mitchell Johnson. We have beaten ourselves and that is why this has been the tour from hell. Only Stuart Broad can say he has performed up to standard.

Eight top-class players came out here with excellent Test records: Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Broad. Only one, Broad, has lived up to it and enhanced his reputation. The rest, seven out of eight, have been rubbish.


Andy Flower says he is up for the challenge of turning this around and the England and Wales Cricket Board will give him a chance because it likes nice people who do not cause it any problems.

But has he really got the fight for it? Is he really strong enough to make difficult decisions? His recent calls do not bode well. They have been a joke: picking Simon Kerrigan and Chris Woakes at the Oval last summer, three fast bowlers for this tour (Steve Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett) who disappeared without trace, and Scott Borthwick, a club standard leg-spinner, for this Test.

If he was a manager in the Premier League he would have had the sack long ago. Loads of the backroom staff would be out of a job as well.

The England and Wales Cricket Board says it does not want to make knee-jerk reactions, but we also do not want complacency and comfort.

Over recent years England has employed more backroom staff, believing it makes them more professional. In fact, they have over-complicated professionalism.

We have coaches for everything. Psychologists, team analysts and an 82-page diet book that made us a laughing stock. It is time they got into the real world and stopped wasting money on frivolous luxuries that do not make any difference when Mitchell Johnson is whistling it around your earhole. The players have stopped thinking for themselves.

In my day when we had a problem, either with batting or bowling, we used to talk it over with our colleagues in the team and worked things out together. It built team morale. It engaged everyone in the dressing room. Now we have robots waiting for a coach and an analyst with a laptop to tell them what they are doing wrong.

Well, I can tell our batsmen what they did wrong. They forgot the principles of Test match batting. They batted like one-day clowns.

All our players play so much Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket that they find it impossible to adapt to each format.

I would like to see our major players only appearing in Test cricket this summer to try to get them into the habit of playing long innings.

Our two main seam bowlers in 2015 will be Broad and Finn. They should play only in Tests too next summer. I think it is possible for Anderson to still be a major bowler in 2015 because the series will be played in English conditions. But only if his workload is reduced.

I know we have a World Cup in 2015 but the players go to Sri Lanka for a one-day series in October and play a series of matches in Australia before the tournament starts. That is plenty of time to get back into one-day mode.

Before this tour, Finn was our best bowling prospect for years, taking four wickets per Test, bowling quick from his 200-centimetre height. But he has finished this tour as a wreck.

Somehow we have to get him back to where he was before the coaches started meddling.

There has to be some really clear thinking and the planning for 2015 has to start now.

Telegraph, London